Simplified application launched for seniors to access healthy food
To increase seniors' access to nutritious foods, the Minnesota Department of Human Services today announced the launch of a new one-page application for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for Minnesotans age 60 and older.
At the end of 2012, only 50.5 percent of seniors eligible for SNAP were accessing it. Currently, more than 500,000 Minnesotans are on SNAP.
"Tens of thousands of seniors who need nutritious food could be getting it through SNAP," said Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson. "Lengthy forms can be cumbersome and intimidating. We simplified the process to increase participation among seniors. If seniors eat more nutritiously, their medication works more effectively, and their overall health and energy are better. That's what we want for seniors in Minnesota."
Stemming from the recommendation of the Nutritious Food Coalition, launched by Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon last year, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Application for Seniors is for seniors-only households. The application is one page, two-sided, with additional attachments, including instructions and resource information. Previously, seniors needed to complete a combined application for food, cash and health care benefits, which all others interested in applying still need to complete.
"We applaud the Department of Human Services for working with advocates to understand the unique needs of seniors when applying for SNAP," said American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) State Director Michele Kimball. "Too many seniors across the state who are eligible for SNAP benefits today are not receiving them, and we are hopeful that simplifying the process will entice seniors to apply and get the food assistance they need and deserve."
AARP is a member of the coalition.
The department is working with counties, community groups and outreach organizations, including the coalition, to get the word out about the new application.
Seniors interested in applying for SNAP should contact their county social service agency. In Douglas County, the phone number is (320) 762-2302.